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Friday, April 24, 2020

Under Ordshaw by Phil Williams review




Order Under Ordshaw over HERE(USA) or HERE (UK)


AUTHOR INFORMATION: Phil Williams is an author of contemporary fantasy and dystopian fiction, including the Ordshaw urban fantasy thrillers and the post-apocalyptic Estalia series. He also writes reference books to help foreign learners master the nuances of English, two of which are regular best-sellers on Kindle. As a long-term teacher and tutor of advanced English, he runs the popular website "English Lessons Brighton".

Phil lives with his wife by the coast in Sussex, UK, and spends a great deal of time walking his impossibly fluffy dog, Herbert.

FORMAT/INFO: Under Ordshaw was self-published by the author in 2018. Cover Art by Phil Williams.



OVERVIEW: With Under Ordshaw, Phil Williams draws us into the horrors that lurk below ground level of a city of Ordshaw. He offers an interesting and unique take on the fae mythos. Fae are real and minuscule but also violent, foul-mouthed, and technologically advanced. The book tells the story of Pax Kuranes, a young woman thrust into a fast-paced adventure heavy with supernatural and mystery.


I tend to root for street-smart characters, so I liked Pax right from the start. She notices patterns in life and uses that to her advantage, while playing cards for example. We meet her after a successful game, with a nice stash of cash in the pocket. Unfortunately, in just few pages someone takes the money away from her, and she needs it back. Her hunt for the thief makes her cross ways with a psychotic agent, a string of killers, and the fae.

While I liked Pax as a person, I also felt she lacked any real agency. Things happened to her, and she reacted accordingly. This doesn’t make her less interesting, she finds herself in an insane situation and tries to make sense of crazy things that happen around and to her. She reacts fast and relies on her instinct, like when she saves Letty, a foul-mouthed and rage-fueled fairy. Their relationship is difficult and fun to observe.

Williams introduced many secondary characters. Besides Pax, we also get a POV from Casaria, a delusional agent taught to hate fairies and consider them as the source of all evil. His inner monologues and hopes of winning Pax’s heart felt so absurd that I couldn’t help but laugh at him. Driven by a desire to keep humanity safe, he acts as a fanatic and quickly becomes a caricature. 

Even though I felt the plot was meandering in places, Williams kept things tight and focused enough to maintain my interest in the story and its developments. And when the action went to Ordhsaw’s underbelly, things got exciting and terrifying.

Conclusion: Under Ordshaw is a unique urban fantasy that stands out for its well-rounded characters and disturbing settings. Williams has given readers plenty of thrills and mystery to keep the pages turning, but his novel sings loudest when he explores human-fae dynamics. Consider me hooked. Under Ordshaw won’t work as a standalone so bear that in mind before starting it.


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